Joshua 7:9
For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what will you do to your great name?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) The Canaanites . . . shall environ us round.—A thing extremely probable in itself, apart from the supernatural character of the invasion.

7:6-9 Joshua's concern for the honour of God, more than even for the fate of Israel, was the language of the Spirit of adoption. He pleaded with God. He laments their defeat, as he feared it would reflect on God's wisdom and power, his goodness and faithfulness. We cannot at any time urge a better plea than this, Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name? Let God be glorified in all, and then welcome his whole will.What wilt thou do unto thy great name? - i. e. "after the Canaanites have cut off our name what will become of Thy Name?" This bold expostulation, that of one wrestling in sore need with God in prayer, like the similar appeals of Moses in earlier emergencies (Compare the marginal references), is based upon God's past promises and mercies. What would be said of (God by the pagan if now He permitted Israel to be destroyed? 6-9. Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth … before the ark … he and the elders—It is evident, from those tokens of humiliation and sorrow, that a solemn fast was observed on this occasion. The language of Joshua's prayer is thought by many to savor of human infirmity and to be wanting in that reverence and submission he owed to God. But, although apparently breathing a spirit of bold remonstrance and complaint, it was in reality the effusion of a deeply humbled and afflicted mind, expressing his belief that God could not, after having so miraculously brought His people over Jordan into the promised land, intend to destroy them, to expose them to the insults of their triumphant enemies, and bring reproach upon His own name for inconstancy or unkindness to His people, or inability to resist their enemies. Unable to understand the cause of the present calamity, he owned the hand of God. Which will upon this occasion be blasphemed and charged with inconstancy, unkindness, and unfaithfulness to thine own people, and with inability to resist them, or to do thy people that good thou didst intend them. Compare Exodus 32:12 Numbers 14:13 Deu 33:27 Joel 2:17. For the Canaanites,.... Those that dwell on the east and on the west of the land, see Joshua 11:3; who were one of the seven nations:

and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it; of this defeat; not only the Amorites, among whom they now were, and the Canaanites before mentioned, but the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites:

and shall environ us round; come with all their forces from all parts of the land, and surround us, so that there will be no escaping for us:

and cut off our name from the earth; utterly destroy us, that we shall be no more a nation and people, and the name of an Israelite no more be heard of, see Psalm 83:4,

and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? this, though mentioned last, was uppermost in the heart of Joshua, and was reserved by him as his strongest argument with God to appear for them and save them; since his own glory, the glory of his perfections, his wisdom, goodness, power, truth, and faithfulness, was so much concerned in their salvation.

For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great {e} name?

(e) When your enemies will blaspheme you and say that you were not able to defend us from them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 9. - For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it. The invariable argument of Moses (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:28; Deuteronomy 32:26, 27). The disgrace which the sin of man brings upon the cause of the Lord is a real and very terrible thing (cf. 2 Samuel 12:14; Ezekiel 36:23). The anger of God, which Achan had brought upon Israel, was manifested to the congregation in connection with their attempt to take Ai. This town was situated near Bethaven, on the east of Bethel. Bethel was originally called Luz (see at Genesis 28:19), a place on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:13). It is frequently mentioned, was well known at a later time as the city in which Jeroboam established the worship of the calves, and was inhabited again even after the captivity (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 178, 179). It has been preserved, in all probability, in the very extensive ruins called Beitin (see Robinson, Pal. ii. pp. 126ff.), about four hours' journey on horseback to the north of Jerusalem, and on the east of the road which leads from Jerusalem to Sichem (Nablus).

(Note: The statement of the Onomasticon of Eusebius s. v. Aggai' agree with this: Κεῖται Βαιθὴλ ἀπίοντων εἰς Αἰλίαν ἀπὸ Νεηεμιαήας πόλεως ἐν λαιοῖς τῆς ὁδοῦ ἀμφὶ τὸ δωδέκατον ἀπ ̓ Αἰλίας σημεῖον. Also s. v. Βαιθήλ: καὶ νῦν ἐστὶ κώμη, Αἰλίας ἄποθεν σημείοις ιβ ́ (twelve Roman miles are four or five hours' journey).)

No traces have ever been discovered of Bethaven. According to Joshua 18:12-13, the northern boundary of the tribe of Benjamin, which ran up from Jericho to the mountains on the west, passed on to the desert of Bethaven, and so onwards to Luz (Bethel). If we compare with this the statement in 1 Samuel 13:5, that the Philistines who came against Israel encamped at Michmash before (in front of) Bethaven, according to which Bethaven was on the east or north-east of Michmash (Mukhmas), the desert of Bethaven may very possibly have been nothing more than the table-land which lies between the Wady Mutyah on the north and the Wadys Fuwar and Suweinit (in Robinson's map), or Wady Tuwr (on Van de Velde's map), and stretches in a westerly direction from the rocky mountain Juruntel to Abu Sebah (Subbah). Bethaven would then lie to the south or south-east of Abu Sebah. In that case, however, Ai (Sept. Gai or Aggai, Genesis 12:8) would neither be found in the inconsiderable ruins to the south of the village of Deir Diwan, as Robinson supposes (Pal. ii. pp. 312ff.), nor on the site of the present Tell el Hajar, i.e., stone hill, three-quarters of an hour to the S.E. of Beitin, on the southern side of the deep and precipitous Wady Mutyah, as Van de Velde imagines; but in the ruins of Medinet Chai or Gai, which Krafft

(Note: Topograph. v. Jerusalem, p. ix.)

and Strauss

(Note: Sinai u. Golgoth. pp. 326-7.)

discovered on the flat surface of a mountain that slopes off towards the east, about forty minutes on the eastern side of Geba (Jeba), where "there are considerable ruins surrounded by a circular wall, whilst the place is defended on the south by the valley of Farah, and on the north by the valley of Es Suweinit, with steep shelving walls of rock" (Strauss: vid., C. Ritter Erdk. xvi. pp. 526-7). On the advice of the men who were sent out to explore the land, and who described the population on their return as small ("they are but few"), Joshua did not send the whole of the fighting men against Ai, but only about 3000 men. As there were not more than 12,000 inhabitants (Joshua 8:25), there could hardly have been 3000 fighting men, who might easily have been beaten by 3000 Israelitish warriors. But when the Israelites attacked the town they fled before its inhabitants, who slew about thirty-six men, and pursued them before the gate, i.e., outside the town, to the stone quarries, and smote them on the sloping ground. The Shebarim, from sheber, a breach or fracture, were probably stone quarries near the slope on the east of the town. Nothing more can be decided, as the country has not been thoroughly explored by travellers. On account of this repulse the people lost all their courage. "The hearts of the people melted" (see Joshua 2:15): this expression is strengthened still further by the additional clause, "and became as water."

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